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Dunedin's burgeoning relationship with Shanghai has been put on a pedestal at an award ceremony attended by world leaders in China.
Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose returns to Dunedin today from the 2014 International Friendship Cities Conference in Guangzhou, China.
At the event Dunedin was named as one of three cities - alongside San Francisco and Hamburg - to receive a sister city exchange and co-operation award from Shanghai, which has more than 70 sister cities around the world.
Dunedin was also among just 81 cities and provinces around the world to be recognised for their contributions to sister city relations at the event, Dr Bidrose said.
She was the only city representative to have been invited to speak at the event, before an audience of about 750 people, including international leaders, politicians, former heads of state and dozens of mayors.
Her speech focused on Dunedin's Chinese history, the development of the Dunedin Chinese Garden and the new focus on business without barriers.
Dunedin's recognition was ''a great honour'' as the city marked 20 years since the signing of its sister city agreement with Shanghai, she said.
''We really value our relationship with Shanghai, which continues to grow and strengthen to the benefit of both cities.''